People take hypertension lightly, and most of them are not aware or don’t pay attention to its criticality. We have gathered some common and most frequently asked questions that people have about hypertension to reflect on its seriousness.
What is Hypertension?
Referred to as a ‘Silent Killer’, high blood pressure or hypertension is a medical condition in which the blood pressure remains much higher than normal levels.
Why is it called a silent killer?
According to Dr. Niraj Kumar, Associate Director, Max Hospital, Gurgaon, it is quite common to come across with people have high BP for years without even knowing about it. Mostly, there are no symptoms or sometimes minor symptoms, but it damages the arteries and vital organs of the body which can lead to life-threatening medical emergencies. Typically, the higher the blood pressure, the greater is the risk. If hypertension is left untreated, it can affect all organ systems which can considerably shorten one's life expectancy by 10 to 20 years.
How Common is Hypertension in India?
In India, more than one-third of the urban adult population and more than one-fourth of the rural adult population have hypertension. It is reaching epidemic proportions in India with an estimated 100 million patients. Status of hypertension awareness, treatment & control is dismal in India. Only about 1/3 of hypertensive population is on treatment, and only about 20% of that is really under control. Moreover, hypertension is a critical risk factor for global burden of disease and disability as well as global morbidity and mortality.
What Medical Emergencies Can Hypertension Lead to?
Hypertension can lead to coronary heart disease (Angina, Heart attack), stroke, end-stage renal disease, congestive heart failure and peripheral vascular disease. However, even though hypertension is a risk factor for these critical medical conditions, it can be easily controlled. Hence, it is necessary to identify and control hypertension by encouraging a healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, preventive strategies can help decrease the prevalence of hypertension in the general population.
What are the treatment options for hypertension?
Drug therapy is the most widely administered treatment option for hypertension; however, lifestyle changes are mandatory and play a significant role in coping with the condition. Some of the common lifestyle changes suggested by doctors include losing weight, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, eating a balanced diet and regular exercise.